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593rd ESC, 62nd AW join forces for mobility exercise

Operation Rainier War to improve mission readiness and interoperability

A 62nd Medical Brigade HMMWV is being offloaded from a C-17 after returning from their flight to Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake. Photo credit: 1st Lt. Taylor Elliot

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More than 90 soldiers from the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command participated in Operation Rainier War in support of 62nd Airlift Wing's Rapid Mobility Exercise Dec. 5-6 at McChord Field.

"We consider the Rainier War exercise to be the largest mobility exercise that is organized by a single unit," said Lt. Col. Kenny Weiner, 62nd Operations Support Squadron commander. "The exercise has been going on since 2013 and it's an opportunity for us to execute what we practice in terms or readiness throughout the year."

Along with the 62nd AW's mobility exercise, Operation Rainier War is designed to provide realistic training for I Corps units in order to improve broad spectrum mission readiness and interoperability between the Army and Air Force units on a semiannual basis.

"Soldiers participating will know that they will be supported by the Air Force, that they can get into the fight; however, they can and they will learn that they can accomplish their job in any environment," said 1st Lt. Tyler Carr, plans and future operations officer, 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

The exercise was scenario-based and was tailorable to operate in a semipermissive and contested environment. During this exercise, soldiers from the 62nd Medical Brigade and 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion provided military vehicles and personnel to fill eight C-17s and did predeployment activities to prepare equipment and personnel.

"Joint training allows us to actually be ready to do what we are expected to do at any moment," said Weiner, a native of Akron, Ohio. "Our Army partners next door have certain capabilities that they need to execute. We need to demonstrate that we can do that for them and with them efficiently and effectively -- exercise Rainier War allows us to do that."

According to Weiner, the exercise involved other C-17 units and international partners as well.

On the final day of the exercise, the 62nd AW flew servicemembers and equipment over to Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, landed, and then returned to McChord Field to simulate a rapid deployment of equipment and personnel.

"The soldiers were shown that they are a real asset to the Army by facilitating rapid deployment of equipment around the world by aircraft," said 1st Lt. Jacob Arnquist, an executive officer from the 21st Inland Cargo Transfer Company, 13th CSSB.

This operation took place in four phases: planning, preparation, execution and recovery. The units from 593rd ESC that participated in the exercise enhanced their unit readiness by conducting Joint Training and Deployment Readiness Level III.

The joint exercise not only helped 62nd AW meet some of its training objectives, but it gave the 593rd ESC units a chance to meet some of their mission-essential tasks.

"Our soldiers were able to practice their craft and perform Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group operations from start to finish, (and) they were able to see the fruits of their labor by flying out with the equipment -- showing them the importance of their job and the reason that they need to continue to be detail-oriented," Arnquist said.

In this instance, the unique opportunity for the two services on one joint base to work together helped make the exercise a success, according to Weiner.

"We appreciate our joint partners, specifically 593rd ESC for cooperating so well and providing input early on as part of the planning and they stayed integrated throughout the entire planning scenario and through execution," said Weiner.

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